These artifacts are engineering test samples of microelectronic hybrids, specialized devices that combined electrical components and circuits arranged in layers on top of an alumina wafer. These hybrids were essential components on some types of science and communications satellites in the 1980s and 1990s.
The technique of layering helped reduce the weight and size of spacecraft electronics. The number of circuit layers in a device ranged from three to eight, depending on its function. The buried conducting layers provided additional pathways for connecting the electrical devices on the hybrid's top layer. A completed hybrid was an ingenious puzzle in which many chips and devices were integrated through as many as several thousand connections.
This design approach represented the state of the art in miniaturization for microelectronic hybrids as of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.
Gift of Lockheed Martin